Juan Santiago missing: Father of 18-year-old suspect shot in Mount Dora is missing

The father of an 18-year-old Deltona man who was shot by authorities Monday in Mount Dora after leading law enforcement on a short pursuit is missing and unaccounted for, according to Volusia County Sheriff's Office. 

Police said the whereabouts of Juan Santiago, 52, the suspect's father, are unknown and authorities have been unable to locate him.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood provided more information at a media briefing Tuesday afternoon. He said Johnny Santiago’s parents had grown concerned after he crashed on Interstate 4.

"Family becomes really, really concerned about the way Johnny is acting. There's alcohol involved a couple different things they’re not happy with," he said. 

Chitwood said Juan Santiago flew in from New York – where they primarily reside to check on their son, who was living at their second home off Lehigh Drive in Deltona. Chitwood said the two began to argue over access to the family’s F-150, as Johnny's mother was on the phone with Juan Santiago in New York.

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"And he’s arguing with his son to turn over the car keys to the F-150. The argument is heated. Mom hears gunshots and the phone goes dead," he explained.

VCSO said deputies responded to the home on Monday and found no one there. A white 2022 Ford F-150 was found in DeBary, and the driver seemingly drove away from deputies. The truck was spotted in Sanford in Seminole County and also fled from deputies, VCSO said. 

Earlier that day, Volusia County deputies said it was looking for the driver of a white truck that was possibly connected to a "suspicious incident" in Deltona. Authorities did not elaborate on the incident, but said the driver was considered to be "armed and dangerous." 

The truck was spotted Monday afternoon at a Walmart in Lake County and the driver again fled from authorities, leading them on a short pursuit to Mount Dora, according to Mount Dora Police Department. The driver, alleged to be Johnny Santiago, began shooting at law enforcement, who returned fire.

The truck crashed into a synagogue, where the driver again began shooting at deputies, officials said. Deputies returned fire, striking the man, who then surrendered. He was taken to the hospital.

Sheriff Chitwood said Tuesday a key part of the investigation is focused on the minutes following the moment they lost contact and when deputies responded to the home.

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"There’s a 13-15 minute lapse after he disconnects with mom where we know he’s still at the residence," he said. He said the mom’s lack of cooperation has forced them to lean on technology to try to find Juan.

"One of the more stranger twists in this case is mom was reluctant to allow us into the house after we called her back and said, ‘hey this what’s going on …, ’ she begrudgingly helped us, and now she’s not helping at all," he said.